If a person can develop self-mastery, then they can achieve virtually anything they want to in life. And even more importantly, mastery over the self leads to peace and contentment.
Self-mastery means having control over one’s thoughts and emotions. However, this does not mean that you never feel anything or that you have to suppress feelings of unhappiness or discomfort. Self-mastery is about processing your feelings in a way that’s healthy. You avoid letting your emotions drive your decision-making. And you think in a more rational manner.
Let’s look at practical ways you can have better control over your feelings and thoughts and how doing this can help you.
Realize that thoughts are transitory
Most of us experience our thoughts as being ourselves. When we see the news and hear something bad, we then look at such news and our own thoughts about it as evidence that we’re vulnerable. Or if we do well at work and win another customer, we take our positive thoughts about the event and bolster our self-worth.
However, events in life come and go and they can feel good or bad. Likewise, our thoughts about them also change. The trouble arises when we focus too much on specific thoughts and believe them to be who we are.
To gain self-mastery, be aware that your thoughts can’t be who you are because they never remain the same. You think thousands of thoughts a day and really never pay attention to most of them. The ones you do pay attention to are the ones that affect your life, especially if they’re negative.
Let’s look at a practical example. While browsing on social media, you may feel FOMO (the fear of missing out) because you see your friends traveling or doing something you can’t. This is a common experience for many people. According to studies on FOMO, 39% of people feel envy, 30% feel jealousy, and 21% of people feel sadness from using social media.
However, instead of focusing on these feelings more, be aware that they will likely pass on their own if you let them. Later on, when you’re doing laundry or talking to family, you’re not going to remember these feelings at all.
In this way, being aware that your thoughts are transitory will help you stop focusing too much on negative thoughts and develop self-mastery.
Another critical aspect of self-mastery is self-acceptance. One of the reasons why self-mastery is so hard is because many people approach it with the intent to ‘fix’ something or because they are not happy with who they are. The problem with this approach is that it automatically creates resistance within ourselves.
If you’re pressuring yourself to study hard because you’re afraid of being a failure, then your mind won’t be able to focus on your studies. If you’re taking gym classes or doing Yoga because you don’t like how you look, you could end up missing out on the mental benefits of these exercise forms.
It is completely all right for anyone to desire change in their lives. But it is vital to approach it from a sense of wholeness and self-acceptance. Being kind to yourself and accepting yourself will make you approach different aspects of life with kindness and motivation.
You’ll live healthier, grow your business, or work smarter because you come from a positive place. Something that’s sustainable in the long run, unlike wanting to change because you’re essentially unhappy with who you are.
Self-mastery is possible when you accept yourself fully. You’ll view thoughts, emotions, and the different events of life as things that pass and don’t shake up who you really are.
Self-mastery is not about white-knuckling your way through a diet or forcing yourself to think positive thoughts. You have mastered yourself when you feel complete acceptance of yourself and your life. And when you view your thoughts and feelings as things that aren’t permanent.
With self-mastery, you can stay motivated for longer periods of time. You’ll sustain your mental energy to achieve goals that interest you. And what’s more, you’ll also feel peace and happiness because you won’t engage with disempowering thoughts. It’s also a practice that takes time to achieve, so get started today and you’ll see changes taking place soon.